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Igneous rocks: Some definitions

Molten rock
 in the Earth is magma

Magma is buoyant, rises to surface,

& sometimes breaks through

 when magma reaches Earth’s surface it

is called lava

An igneous rock is formed when magma or

lava cools and solidifies
Why should we care?

 Igneous rocks make up bulk of Earth’s crust

 Earth’s mantle is basically one huge igneous rock

 Important rocks economically

 Striking landscape features

Igneous rocks that form
- at the surface are volcanic (extrusive)

Igneous rocks that form

- deep down are plutonic (intrusive)
Plutonic rocks
To see them, they must be uplifted to surface
And softer surrounding rock eroded away

Magma body
Plutonic rocks
For us to ever see them, they must be uplifted to the surface
And softer surrounding rock eroded away
Plutonic igneous
rock example:

El Capitan
Yosemite Nat. Park,
As magma cools, atoms arrange in an
orderly crystal structure

 crystallization
Note: different crystal sizes
Coarse-grained igneous rock

Close up of crystals

 Note the variety of crystal sizes

1. granite ------ rhyolite
“coarse” “fine”
phaneritic aphanitic

silica (SiO2) rich

feldspar and quartz
2. basalt---------gabbro
“fine” “coarse”
aphanitic phaneritic

iron – magnesium
(Fe – Mg) rich
ferromagnesian minerals,

plagioclase (Ca, Na
Minerals to Rocks:
Major Rock Groups
Igneous Rock - Molten rock that has cooled and
crystallized into sold rock.
• Crystal size determined by how fast
the rock cooled. Due to how
crystals grow.
– Long time = large crystals
– short time = small crystals
• Course grain - crystals are easily seen
with naked eye.
• Fine grain - crystals < 1mm, but can
still be seen without magnification.
• Glassy - no crystals can be seen
without magnification.
Forms and Structures of
Igneous Rocks

Intrusive Extrusive
Structures Structures

Sheet Lens-shaped Cone-sheet, Subjacent

Intrusions Intrusions Ring Dikes Plutons Lava Plateau Volcanic Cone
Phacolith Stock
Dikes Sills
Ropy lava Vesicular Columnar
Lopolith structure Jointing
Pillow lava
Block lava Amygdaloidal

Igneous Rock Structures

(large crystals)
Intrusive Igneous Rocks
• Also called Plutonic
• Rocks form inside the
earth. Granite is the
most common.
• Cools slowly - Large
crystals (course grain)
• Magma - molten rock
inside the earth.
Intrusive Igneous Rocks Exposed
Shiprock California Granite Outcrop, Yosemite
Subjacent Plutons
 Bathoilth
Large, irregular, major deep seated intrusive
masses of very large size, elongated parallel to
major tectonic regime.They have an outcrop
areas greater than100km2

 Stock
Is similar to batholiths, with surface area less
than 100 km2. They have steeply plunging
contact with no visible floor. Boss is a term
applied to stocks of circular section

 Diapirs
 are bodies of rock and/or magma that are
buoyant and moves upwards, piercing rocks
above them.They appear as ballon like bodies
intruded and displaced the country.

(small crystals
The Structures of Lavas
 Block Lava
(subareial lava flows, result when volatile in the magma are boiled

off in the vent before eruption

 Ropy Lava
(lava flows with less loss of volatiles show contorted snaky folds)

 Pillow Lava
(Submarine lava flows, exhibit a pillow structure that consists of
isolated pillowed shaped masses piled one upon another

 Vesicular Lava
(Lava flows with gas cavities or vesicles which are trapped during
solidification, eg. Scoria, Pumice,…)
 Amygdaloidal structure
(When vesilcles are later filled with secondary minerals such as
Calcite, chlorite, chalcedony,..)
 Columnar Jointing
(fractures that separate polygonal, pencil-like cooling structures
Several centimeters across.)
Extrusive Igneous Rocks
• Also called volcanic
• Rocks form at the
earth’s surface.
Known as Basalt
• Cools rapidly - small
crystals (glassy)
• Lava - molten rock at
the earth’s surface
Extrusive Igneous Rocks form near
Mt. Pinatubo volcanoes

Lava flow at
Volcanoes National Park,
Fig. 4.16
Fig. 4.17
Vesicular structure
Obsidian - extrusive
Glassy texture (no defined crystals)
Fig. 4.12
Fig. 4.30
Pillow Structure